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2020/06/26 Update

3 steps to bounce back to work after getting laid off.

Getting laid off is not the end of the world.

Since the state of emergency was lifted in April, life in Japan has been slowly getting back to normal (or should it be a “new normality”? :). However, many employers have been still in trouble to recover their business thanks to the unexpected hit from the pandemic a few months ago; thus failing to keep their workforce in full which resulted in continuous redundancies.

Losing your job is not an incident that can be easily mentally overcome as sometimes it is not only about money but rather self-esteem. What should I do after getting laid off? How should I tell my potential employer about the redundancy? There would be loads of questions running through your mind, right?

But first thing first. You have got to be mentally well-prepared before embarking on a new job hunt.
Let’s follow our 3 steps to re-ignite your career!

1. Take a break. Pull yourself together

Remember that it was not your fault to get laid off but the downturn of businesses. Millions of people throughout the world woke up with a notice of layoffs from their employer, so you are not alone and there should be no shame about this. It’s hard to stay relaxed and enjoy yourself during the layoff but many companies are still having a hiring freeze and you can not do anything else but wait.

Just take a deep breath and let your mind wander around for a few days. After getting laid off, you might have tons of administrative paperworks to finish from unemployment benefits application to taxation etc., but give them another time to be taken care of. This is a time for you to relax.

You can surround yourself with positive people and spend quality time with your family and friends. Remember when was the last time you had a chat with your relatives or hung out with homies? Having good times with your beloved ones is one of many ways to clear your mind from disruptions and more importantly, help you think more thoroughly after that.

“Try to think about the layoff as an opportunity that’s ultimately going to do you some good”, suggests Priscilla Claman, the president of Career Strategies to HBR. “A lot of people stay in their jobs for too long; they get stuck and can’t move”. How about this is an once in a lifetime opportunity for you to find out what and where you actually belong to?

2. Reflect and brainstorm

Next step: Give yourself a time to reflect on your past job. There are few questions you can ask yourself before making any plan:
・Did you really enjoy working its tasks?
・What did you want to do but could not do in your past job?
・Should you jump back to the same role and make a career change?
・What were the best accomplishments you gained in the past jobs?

Whatever comes to your mind as an answer, write them down and highlight what you think they would be your selling point instead of locking them in your head and hoping that you will remember forever.

3. Plan to rebound

Now is the time to plan how to move forward. Here are 4 steps that will help you rebound:

1. Do research on the job market: There must be a lot of changes after the pandemic, for example, companies in the tech industry are likely to continue their hiring while those in the leisure industry are cutting costs. If the industry you worked in was unluckily hit hard by the coronavirus and is still struggling, you need to focus on the job role, ask yourself “What kind of role might be the best fit with my background and experience?” and look for opening vacancies in different industries from your past one. There are multiple transferable skills that can be made use of no matter what industry you participate in.

2. Update your resume: The job market now can be more competitive since millions of people who lost their jobs are also seeking opportunities to get back to the workforce after the state of emergency was lifted. Therefore, the first step you should do is reviewing and refining your resume to make it stand out from the crowd.

And don’t forget that there are plenty of tools to help you on the resume. Try to take advantage of resume builder platforms such as livecareer, myperfectcv or topresume to get a review of your work.

Also, one thing I love during the job search in Japan is recruitment agencies (RA). They are extremely helpful when it comes to correcting resumes and giving realistic insights about the current job market. Try to register an account with some recruiter and contact them, especially those who are specialised in foreign nationals recruitment.

3. Networking: Do you know that you have higher chances of getting (at least) an interview if your resume is referred to by the company’s employees? If you do not have friends working for your desired company, make use of Linkedin to find someone and ask them for a referral. Meetup app is also another choice to get to know and build networks with people who share similar interests.

4. Stay positive: I hate to tell people this but in this case, this is one of the most important things to make you look good in people’ eyes. As I mentioned before, having referrals from your contacts may shorten your path to a job landing but they will definitely be skeptical to recommend you to their employer if you keep showing your negativity and depression around. No matter what you say, at the end of the day, how you act will determine other’s impression on you, right?


No matter what you want to do in order to get back to work after being on a furlough, remember to do it wisely and strategically if your final goal is landing on a good job.
Good luck ;)

Images: Google.